About Smart Guitars

Smart Guitars is the passion, hobby and business of Dave Smart, with support from a small, dedicated team of specialists. Dave has been a musician and gear enthusiast for over 30 years, and spent 20 years in music retail, most recently running the iconic Oxford Guitar Gallery in Summertown, Oxford.

Dave’s years of passion and dedication for all things guitar related are now put into caring for you, the client. From the workshop in the heart of Oxfordshire, Dave creates, repairs, cares for and maintains your most precious possessions so that you can enjoy them for years to come.

Guy A, Oxfordshire
It’s such a pleasure dealing with Dave Smart, he’s a gentleman and of course a wizard. It’s almost worth having the guitars go wrong just so that he can fix them and make them substantially better than they were originally!

Carlos Maline, Oxford
Dave at Smart Guitars is an exceptional craftsman. My Epiphone has never sounded as good in its 15 years. I’ve learned that there is more to guitars than the flashy pickups you put in it, they need setting up and that’s what this guy did for me. Now my machine is at performance standard.

Without question as a professional craftsman, Dave knows what value means…and he delivers without exploiting or patrionising the customer.

Thanks dude.


From our workshop in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, our small team of dedicated luthiers apply their passion for repairing and modifying guitars, amplification and effects. From re-string to vintage restoration, from re-valve to re-build, every item that goes through our workshop benefits from our many years of experience, undergoing a transformation thanks to detailed, individual attention.

We are authorised repairers for

Vigier guitars and Collings guitars

Approved suppliers and installers of Stetsbar Professional Tremolo Systems

We also build bespoke bolt-on-neck guitars in the traditional sense. Not quite happy with what off-the-shelf brands can offer? We can offer a solution tailored to your detailed requirements.

Please contact us for your quotation or for our standard price list. With our minimum bench charge at just £20.00, we can cater to every budget.

Lee Davies, Oxford
After falling in love with the tone of a 1958 Martin D-18 I snapped it up and took it home but soon realised like all old guitars it need some tlc. Within minutes of meeting with Dave he knew exactly what I wanted and what the guitar needed. The hard earned knowledge and genuine passion Dave has is is exactly what us guitar enthusiasts need. A top bloke and a pleasure to deal with, I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

The Martin now plays like a new guitar but still sounds vintage, perfection. Fret dress, new nut, new tuners and amazing set up has now made this guitar even more special. Thank you so much again Dave.


Here at Smart Guitars, quality of tone and supreme workmanship are extremely important. That’s why we’re proud to be authorised retailers and repairers of a select group of guitars, effects pedals, amplification and accessories. From time to time we also carry stock of select pre-owned instruments, amplification and effects. Please contact us for an up-to-date stock list and images.

Clive Gibson-Leitch, via email

Dear Guitarist, last month, enthused by your recent review, I bought a Martin Junior Dreadnought. I have lusted after a Martin all my long life, but when I got it out of the box, I was a bit disappointed.It looked and sounded great, but the action was way too high and the strings too thick, so I couldn’t do any of the cool bends that are part of my style. So I took it to Oxford’s Dave Smart and told him how I wanted it to sound and feel.

A few days later, I got the guitar back: it was now the guitar of my dreams. He transformed it from an instrument that I wouldn’t have bothered to pick up to something I lay my hands on whenever I can. And all for £30! Dave has also done similar jobs for my mate on his Epiphone acoustic and Squier Telecaster, identifying any problems and solving them. Many of your readers are clearly able to set up guitars for themselves, but for those of us who can’t – get a professional setup: the results are incredible!

As featured in Readers Letters of Guitarist magazine, Issue 401, December 2015

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    I took my Ibanez GB-10 to Dave for a setup, a fret dress, and to fix an issue that kept throwing her out of tune. Dave is a master of his craft and a pleasure to work with. My guitar feels the best it has felt since I got it 7 years ago! The notes now really have that bounce that I was looking for, the intonation is perfect, it holds tuning like a champ, and plays like a dream. I will definitely be going back for my next setup. Thanks so much Dave!

    Miles Aron, Norwich, CT, USA & Oxford

    Whenever I am asked about guitar techs, luthiers, etc – I always recommend you because you have always done excellent work – above and beyond what was asked of you and for very reasonable prices.

    David Scotter, Oxford

    After suffering almost a year of problems with my Vigier Excalibur Ultra Blues, that several luthiers tried and failed to solve, I was thrilled to have it, not just returned to its original spec, but be playing better than ever thanks to Dave. As well as being extremely happy with the technical work I was very impressed with all the additional advice and guidance regarding the future of my instrument.

    Absolutely amazing understanding of both traditional and unique guitars.

    I will definately be taking my guitars back to Dave in the future.

    Jax Richardson, London

    Really very very happy with the hard work you put in on my bass, exceeded any of my wildest expectations, truly!

    Paul Tadman, London

    Thanks for the fab job. My strat sounds beautiful! I’ve never heard harmonics ring like that before…cheers

    David, Oxford

    This Tele is fab with this trem. Thanks so much…exactly as I wanted.

    JP, Oxford

    Just writing to say a big thank you once again for working on my guitar, for the good deal and for taking it upon yourself to straighten the tuning head for me. As far as the pickups go, I don’t think I can articulate just how phenomenal I find them, they exceeded my expectations by a lot. Good shout on the gold plated screws/pole pieces too, they definitely conformed to the general aesthetic of the guitar in a way I hadn’t anticipated.

    Thanks for everything again and take care, seems like I can always count on you to look after my gear.

    All the best!

    Andrew Merchant, Oxford